The summit was held at the Intercontinental Festival City – Dubai, welcoming over 4,500 participants. The emerging tech-focused expo ran in parallel with the AGS summit, an event focusing on digital marketing, affiliate marketing, and SEO. The double-event was designed to explore the long-term trends and recent innovations through a series of panels and keynotes led by influencers, thought leaders, and government bodies.
The host emirate is perhaps the world’s most prominent hub for the crypto industry. The region is likely to continue to grow in influence, playing a focal role in connecting the blockchain and crypto ecosystem on both a regional and global stage. The UAE government has been a firm advocate of blockchain technology and digital assets, investing heavily in developing a regulatory framework and support for the Emirate Blockchain Strategy 2021 – a powerful vehicle for the Emirates’ aspirations to implement blockchain technology into the bulk of government functions.
The event was AIBC’s first global summit held outside of Europe, with its success setting the stage for a robust calendar of international events in 2022. Notable debuts included the appearance of RoboAds on the AIBC-AGS expo floor, with the world’s first mobile advertising robot exhibiting NFT art and live cryptocurrency pricing, as well as a workshop run by CasperLabs, which introduced smart contracts to legal professionals.
The event kicked off at the Sheesha Finance DeFi Launch Lounge with a tone-setting panel featuring speakers such as Dr. Marwan Al Zarouni and Professor Scott Stornetta. Joseph Holm Medha Parlikar and Jorge Sebastiao lead the evening debate. Over the next two days, the event continued with key panellists, including His Excellency, Dr Sultan Ahmed al Jaber, Minister of State in the UAE, who emphasised innovation as an ever-important aspect of global relations in a world still recovering from the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Maltese Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri also hailed the influence of Blockchain, articulating its effect on the island nation’s economy. Brock Pierce, a former US presidential candidate, held a keynote at the conference and a course on Blockchain and Crypto – emphasising the advantages of crypto for humanity. He appealed to entrepreneurs inviting them to focus on bettering the lives of billions instead of just getting rich. His famous educational workshop drew a full house, though designed for newcomers.
His workshop was so well-received that attendees grouped outside the room for an improvised press conference where he continued to take questions from the audience. There were digital artworks such as “Refresh” by Vesa, and “AI” by Anastasia Machikhina presented throughout the expo. In addition, auspicious NFT artist Amritha Sethi delved into the new use cases and capitalisation opportunities during the panel debate on this hot topic.
For TRASTRA, the event was highly beneficial as an opportunity to network at the Startup Village and the Draper-Aladdin AIBC Start-Up Pitch. I loved the pitch by PalletPals, a B2B blockchain platform for logistics, which incidentally won the coveted Best AIBC pitch prize along with a round of funding and a spot on “Meet the Drapers.” In turn, our digital banking toolbox with crypto wallets for users who engage daily in crypto transactions and want to use cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange in their everyday lives turned some serious heads. It’s fascinating how receiving wages/remittances in crypto and cashing out to EUR is a breeze with the TRASTRA Visa payment card, and how surprised some of my interlocutors were when they first found out that there is such a thing as a virtual IBAN integrated with a Visa card! Some went ahead and ordered the card right there on the spot.
Anita Kalergis and several other panellists also offered introductory workshops to newcomers in investing and trading, bringing some of the leading creators, thought leaders, and policymakers upon the stage. From regulation to hot topics such as NFTs and DeFi, the two-day AIBC event help up the long-standing tradition of top-notch networking, fine dining, and crypto-themed partying.
The organisers have managed to bring the best of the industry to a first-class meeting point, leveraging numerous networking opportunities for promising startups like TRASTRA. I managed to build contacts with C-level executives from virtually all sectors of fintech but each with their own specific value point for our company.
Undoubtedly, the main benefit of the AIBC event is the cross-industry collaborative efforts backed by a friendly government. Moreover, the Emirates’ business community’s outlook on the emerging tech instils confidence that our speciality – mobile banking and crypto-heavy payments processing – will continue to rise in demand and popularity. So the conversation will continue, and there are already leading affiliates like PropellerAds, prospective partners like WhiteBIT crypto exchange, policymakers, and thought leaders who are eager to integrate with TRASTRA and consider us one of the most formidable players on the EEA remittances market.